A 6.5-magnitude earthquake, the third to hit the southern Philippines in two weeks, killed at least five people and caused damage to several structures including churches on Oct. 31.
The quake hit the island of Mindanao just past 9 am, causing panic among residents still reeling from shock over the Oct. 29 temblor that struck the same area.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued an urgent appeal for help to assist earthquake victims, especially in Kidapawan Diocese in Cotabato province.
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the conference, made the appeal on behalf of Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan.
Archbishop Valles said the Church decided to do immediate relief work to serve people whose houses were destroyed.
“We need your kind assistance for us to do this,” read the archbishop’s appeal.
“Brothers and sisters, let us be in solidarity with the suffering people in these areas. Let us help the Diocese of Kidapawan bring relief and comfort in the suffering people there,” it read.
Archbishop Valles also asked the faithful to continue praying for the quake victims.
“Let us not forget to continue praying to the Lord for the suffering people in these areas,” he said.
Earlier, Caritas Manila appealed for donations for the earthquake victims.
“We are knocking to your generous hearts to help our brothers and sisters in Cotabato,” said Father Anton Pascual, Caritas Manila executive director.
The priest said the immediate needs of people include clean water, food, clothes, and hygiene items.
The Catholic cathedral of Kidapawan has earlier opened its doors to displaced people following the Oct. 29 quake.
The latest earthquake caused the collapse of a village hall in the town of Makilala where a village official was reported killed.
A man was also pinned to death by a fallen tree while a woman died after being hit by debris. Media reports said two other villagers died due to quake-related injuries in the town of Arakan.
In the city of Kidapawan, a hotel, which was damaged by the earlier earthquake, buckled and leaned onto an adjacent hospital.
Social media posts from Kidapawan Diocese show damage to several structures, including churches and chapels.
The Philippines suffers regular tremors as part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.